Wednesday, 30 November 2011

University Challenge -Round Two - Match 6

University College, London v. University of Warwick

The teams lining up to try to live up to the excellent contests we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks were UCL and Warwick. UCL were actually the lowest scoring winners of round one, although their win margin against York was a healthy 80 points. Warwick were comfortably in the middle of my unofficial table. They beat Edinburgh in the very first heat of this series, back in July. The UCL team were Hywel Carver, Patrick Cook, Tom Andrews and captain Jamie Karran. Warwick were re[resented by Martin Rixham, Celia Nicholls, Sumukh Kaul and captain Thomas Hayes.

Celia Nicholls took the first starter when she worked out that a set of colloquialisms were all earlier equivalents of Catch 22. The team didn’t manage to take any of a set of bonuses on John Donne ( whose verses, according to James I, were like the peace of God, in as much as they passeth all understanding. ) Jamie Karran knew that John Arbuthnot’s famous satire was “John Bull”. 2 bonuses were taken on covenants. Sumukh Kaul took his first starter on the actor Pete Postlethwaite. It wouldn’t be his last. He was by far the most effective of the Warwick team on the buzzer in this match. 2 bonuses were taken on the word ‘if’. It was a starter double for Sumukh Kaul, as he took the next starter on the term – conjugate. Unfortunately Warwick couldn’t manage any of the bonuses on the ear. They had a one in three chance on the ossicles, but went for stirrup when they should have gone for malleus, or hammer. Patrick Cook recognized a photograph of the publisher Mr. Pulitzer, of Prize fame. For which he earned a set of bonuses of photographs of Pulitzer prize winning female writers. They found these rather tricky. Henri of Navarre – or Henri IV of France was the next starter – sorry, I didn’t note who got that one – the iplayer was iplaying up at the time. It was UCL anyway, and they took two bonuses on novels of George Eliot. Sumukh Kaul completed a very good first ten minutes for himself by knowing a set of cryptic clues all pointed to various Chancellors of the Exchequer. One bonus on mineralogy was enough to give Warwick back the lead at the 10 minute stage, as the scores stood at 55 to 50.

Neither team knew the American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe for the next starter. UCL knew the next starter referred to the scene from Tom Sawyer which, incidentally, has been part of the Google logo today. Small world. One bonus followed on words made up from the letters in Das Kapital. Neither team recognized Einstein’s definition of Science. Hywel Carver took the next , a UC special , where the internet abbreviations from several countries – Botswana etc. – were combined to make the latin phrase Bona Fide. A good 3 bonuses on languages followed. Celia Nicholls knew that the plot of Il Postino concerned a postman trying to deliver letters to the poet Neruda. 1 bonus was taken on Astronomers Royal. The music starter followed, and Thomas Hayes was in like lightning to identify the theme of Star Trek Deep Space Nine. Three more of the same followed , and they missed out on farscape. Not surprised. I know people who will never forgive them for not getting Blake’s Seven. Nobody knew the city which shares the same name as some of the main protagonists in War and Peace is Rostov. Jamie Karran supplied the Norns for the next starter. This brought up 2 bonuses on marine invertebrates. Three of the world’s highest capital cities are in South America. Neither team could supply any two of La Paz – Bogota and Quito for the next starter. Sumukh Kaul muscled his way back into the match by knowing that songs including Johnny Todd were connected with Liverpool. A full set of bonuses linked by the word rare was taken. Hywel Carver could see that a set of words including brake and jockey were all connected by the word disc. A set of bonuses on shipping firsts brought up another 2 bonuses. The second picture starter was identified as a seascape by Turner by Patrick Cook. One bonus on other artist’s seascapes followed. Thomas Hayes took a starter on pharmacology, and his team answered a bonus on Queen Victoria and her prime ministers. This brought us to the 20 minute mark, and UCL now had a small lead, with 145 to Warwick’s 125.

Neither team took the next starter which required the word aluminium. Jamie Karran was very quickly in with Louisiana, as the only state other than south Carolina whose name contains 6 vowels. Good shout that. A bonus was taken on astronomy. Patrick Cook knew that a nougat-y sweet was named after Mozart. This brought up a brace of bonuses on the River Nile. Hywel Carver knew an anagram of Heart of Darkness, and the gap was suddenly becoming a chasm. 2 bonuses followed on ancient monuments and the modern day countries where they were situated. Sumukh Kaul took another starter, knowing that the Bank of England was founded partly to fund the foreign wars of king William III. We had female Pulitzer winners earlier, and now we had female Nobel laureates. They took one. Jamie Karran supplied sulphur for the next starter, but they took no bonuses on measuring instruments. Tom Andrews now got in on the act for UCL, knowing that hagfish and lampreys lack jaws. No bonuses were taken on Middle Eastern cities. Finally there was just enough time for Sumukh Kaul to cap a very good personal performance by answering the last starter on Norwegian Nobel prize for literature winners. That was it. In the end a comfortable win for UCL with 220 to 150. Well played.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Most of the time you can’t really tell JP’s opinion of the teams. Sometimes, though, it seems clear that he likes one of them, and in this case it was UCL, whom he found to be particularly amusing. Indeed he even said so at the end. There were several nice vignettes in this show. When the picture of Harper Lee came up we had “ I think we’ll have an answer please . . . Perhaps we won’t have an answer ! “ He was just warming up , though. When offered the identification of a photo of Sylvia Plath as Carol Ann Duffy he replied “POSTHUMOUSLY !!! She’s hale and hearty ! “ With a smile on his face.
When the answer “Felix Holt the Radical” was required, captain Jamie Karran was told in no uncertain terms by Patrick Cook NOT to offer Tess of the D’Urbervilles. So he passed. “NO answer.” replied JP. “Very good. Actually, it’s not very good. It’s terrible ! “ You tell ‘em !
There was a very good old fashioned look when Sumukh Kaul offered Makarova for Rostov. Finally, when offered Caravaggio for Courbet, he gave up , and spluttered “CARAVAGGIO !!?! “ and gave in to laughter.

Interesting Fact Of The Week That I Didn’t Already Know

A nougat based sweet was named after Mozart


DanielFullard said...

Just to let you know David Ive just finished reading one of your books and done a little bit about it on my blog

Jack said...

To be honest, I'd say this was a surprise result. Warwick had looked more impressive in their first round match IMO, so I expected them to be the dominant ones. But UCL played that match brilliantly, despite some very funny answers, and deserve that win.

First time for over two months that the team on the top row has won a match, would you beleive!

The stats: Patrick Cook scored six for UCL, while Sumukh Kaul equalled that for Warwick. UCL managed 20/36 bonuses, compared to just 10/27 for Warwick. No penalties all night.

I think this had been mentioned before, but UCL captain Jamie Karran has been on Pointless alongside Michael Wallace from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine team.

Anyway, next week, a second Oxford derby between Merton and Balliol, leaving Pembroke to fight Nottingham in the final second round match. said...

Re. the music round - you say you know people who wouldn't have forgiven them if they hadn't got Blakes 7. They didn't - they guessed at Lost In Space.

I knew the two themes they failed to guess - Farscape and Blakes 7. But then as B7 was a semi-final subject for me, there are no doubt people out there who would not have forgiven me if I hadn't identified it.

Londinius said...

Hi Daniel -
(blushing) Many many thanks for your kind words in your write up. I'm really glad that you find its useful.

Hi Jack

I think that you can probably tell that I felt a little sorry for Sumukh Kaul. The rest of his team just weren't able to support him quite as well as Patrick Cook's supported him. That's life- its a team game.


Apologies - I'll change that now. I think I got so excited hearing the theme all over again that I didn't note down whether it was answered or not. Still, I'm sorry to say it wouldn't be LAM without a few obvious errors . Thanks for popping by.

Des Elmes said...

Once again, studies meant that I had to wait to catch up on this match... :x

I expected it to be another close one, though perhaps not quite as high-quality as the previous three matches - and so it proved.

Though Mr Cook and Mr Kaul were indeed excellent on the buzzers (with Mr Karran and Mr Carver also playing their parts for UCL with three starters each, while Mr Hayes and Ms Nicholls both got two for Warwick), neither team were particularly impressive on the bonuses - the respective bonus conversion rates being, in fact, 18/39 and 10/28.

(Sorry to be picky there, Jack.)

They more than made up for that, though, with plenty of entertainment - especially UCL.

As for the music round, I knew the Farscape theme immediately, since my dad hardly missed an episode when it was shown on BBC2 a few years back. Wouldn't have got the Blake's 7 theme, however...

Finally, this match was, as it happened, a repeat of the second semi-final in 2006/7, which Warwick won 235-85 en route to becoming champions. So, like with Manchester against Christ Church, you could say it was a case of revenge for UCL...